Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended

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Adobe Photoshop CS5 & CS5 ExtendedToday was a big day for Adobe Photoshop users. This morning Adobe made the official announcement for their new Creative Suite 5, otherwise known as, CS5. They started the day with an hour-long online video launch for CS5, which includes tools for Web design, video editing, print design and publishing, as well as photography. Based on what I’ve seen and read, Adobe Photoshop CS5 is a very worthy upgrade with powerful new tools and faster, more efficient image processing – especially if you’re still using Photoshop CS3, like me…

One of the most important changes with Adobe Photoshop CS5 is that it uses 64-bit processing for both Mac and Windows. With CS4, Adobe offered a special 64-bit edition for Windows users but CS5 is all 64-bit. Minimum requirements for Windows users are a Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor with 1 GB of RAM and Windows XP with Service Pack 3. Mac users will need a multicore Intel processor with 1 GB of RAM installed and OS X v10.5.7 or v10.6. Taking advantage of 64-bit processing means Photoshop CS5 users should see noticeable speed improvement with processor-intensive functions. Anyone who’s ever done any HDR or panoramic compositing in Photoshop should be happy about the 64-bit processing – provided they have a machine that can handle it. I expect many photographers, myself included, will need to upgrade their computer in order to install Photoshop CS5. Come to think of it, my last major desktop upgrade was done to accommodate a new Adobe product.

Here are the basic feature enhancements, from the official Adobe Photoshop CS5 press release and Photoshop CS5 Web page:

  • 64-bit processing
  • Content Aware Fill
  • Refine Edge, “makes nearly-impossible image selections impossible”
  • HDR Pro, including ghost artifact removal and HDR toning, which gives the look of HDR with a single exposure
  • New brush options
  • Improved image management with enhanced Adobe Bridge
  • Lens corrections
  • Improved black-and-white conversions
  • Puppet Warp: Precisely reposition or warp any image element
  • Adobe Camera Raw 6

Adobe Photoshop CS5

Adobe made a huge Internet splash with a video demo of the new Content Aware Fill feature (Content Aware Fill Sneak Peek video). Content Aware Fill is like a magical, steroid-powered version of the Clone / Patch / Healing Brush tools. The video demo went viral and is well worth watching. The technology really is amazing. I don’t know how much I’ll actually use the Content Aware Fill feature. I’m ok with cloning out dust spots, but the demo of the Content Aware Fill goes way past the limits of what’s ethical for editorial photography. For advertising photography it will definitely be an invaluable tool. But I certainly would be careful about using it for any kind of photojournalism.

The Puppet Warp tool is very curious – and not just because of the goofy name. Like Content Aware Fill, Puppet Warp exponentially increases the photo editing and manipulation power of Photoshop. With the Puppet Warp tool you can easily select and reposition elements of an image. Adobe has a short but impressive sample video of a flower being repositioned in someone’s hand. Like Content Aware Fill, Puppet Warp uses Adobe’s new Content Aware technology to seamlessly replace image content. It’s going to be really powerful for designers and commercial photographers who want to fine-tune photos without having to reshoot. But it could also be used to misrepresent things. Not that you can’t already make a photo of an event that never happened – people have been doing it for over 100 years. But changing the actual meaning and content of a photograph is going to be a whole lot easier with Photoshop CS5.

Adobe’s upcoming Lightroom 3 photo workflow software is supposed to have better RAW processing than the previous version and I would guess that Adobe would try to incorporate some of those improvements into Photoshop CS5. There’s not much detail on the Adobe Web site but they do claim CS5′s Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 6 is “enhanced” and an accompanying sample image and text imply that RAW processing has been improved. Add lens corrections based on an image’s EXIF data and it’s possible that CS5 will be able to provide much better image quality control than previous versions. Frankly, I was never a fan of ACR. I’ve always preferred a standalone RAW conversion program – especially after the introduction of Lightroom. But maybe it’s time to give ACR another chance.

I’m curious about the changes to Adobe Bridge. Until Lightroom, Adobe’s attempts at image management software were pretty poor. The CS3 version of Adobe Bridge was a considerable improvement and I happily use it now to browse for images and check EXIF data. It’s still a bit on slow, clunky and unstable, though. I like the look of the new customizable Adobe Mini Bridge panel. Hopefully it’s got some good backend improvements and makes finding image and video files faster more efficient.

The whole CS5 suite is supposed to be available in the next 30 days. You can preorder Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended on the Adobe Web site, now. Photoshop CS5 sells for $699 and you can upgrade from Photoshop CS2, CS3 or CS4 for $199. Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended adds interactive and 3D imaging tools for the Web and video and sells for $999.

No doubt, the Photoshop CS5 reports are already flooding the Web. I’ve been watching CS5 Twitter posts all day while I’ve been working on this article. There’s got to be a ton of information out there with the beta testers and people downloading the CS5 demo. If you know of a good Photoshop CS5 article or demo, please post a description and link to it in the comments section below. That way we can make this page Photoshop CS5 Central for

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Video Launch >>

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended Press Release >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Edit elf says:

    Just getting started in photography, has give me a huge advantage over well established photographers. I don’t have to buy expensive editing software, learn all the tricks, and waste time on my computer. I started shooting weddings because I love photography and I love people, so that’s what I spend my time doing!
    Edit elf

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